Fueling Physical Fitness
Carbohydrate plays a crucial role in exercise by providing fuel to working muscles.
- Active individuals should eat 50-65% of their total daily calorie intake as carbohydrates!
- If your exercise is going to be longer than 60 minutes, eat a small meal a few hours before to fuel your muscles. If that is not possible, eat a small snack of 25-30g carbohydrate to help you power through.
- After exercise, eat a small carbohydrate-rich meal with protein like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk. This is especially important for all day events like tournaments.
- Carbohydrate loading is a method to supersaturate the muscles with stored carbohydrate, called glycogen. It can be beneficial for events that last greater than 90 minutes, such as running a marathon or cycling race. For most active people, carbohydrate loading is not needed if they eat a carbohydrate-rich diet in the weeks leading up to an exercise event. One downside of carbohydrate loading is that the extra stored glycogen also stores extra water, making some athletes feel heavy or bloated.
Grains on the Go
|To fuel your fitness select snacks that combine Carbs, Protein and Fiber!|
|1 mini bagel|
|toast slice or toasted English muffin|
|2 fig cookies|
|1 cup oatmeal or crisp rice cereal|
|17 mini pretzels|
|small blueberry muffin|
|1 cup homemade snack mix|
Fiber helps you feel fuller, so snacks that are full of fiber can help tide you over until your next meal.
Protein is easy to add to your on-the-go snacks with foods such as cheese, beans and peanut butter.
Not only is exercise good for your heart and muscles, it’s also good for your brain.
- Exercise improves mood, vitality, alertness and overall feelings of well-being.
- Exercise has also been shown to be effective for treating depression and for reducing stress.
- As you become more physically active, your cognitive function improves.
- The best fuel for your muscles is carbohydrates, and that is also true for your brain. Chronic low-carb and high-fat diets can worsen cognitive decline.